Emily Nguyen- 2nd Yr Bachelor of Medical Sciences and Global Health
Yes- we know, she’s not enrolled as a health studies student but she takes as many classes as you do! Emily is part of Western Scholars which has allowed her to enroll in a different pathway than most. Many of her required courses for her unique degree are health studies courses which showcases how interdisciplinary our program truly is.
What do you think makes the School of Health Studies stand out?
It’s really interdisciplinary. The perspective for the courses doesn’t simply focus on the physical aspect of health but also considers on social, economic, cultural gender factors. It really humanizes the program. You look at a person based on their physical ability and their background. I think it is so important for professionals to not simply use a systematic approach on physical wellness but look at the whole picture. The courses that SHS offer really showcase that.
Have you been involved in any student clubs/councils/extra-curricular activities?
I love dancing with WOOF (Western Ontario Organization of Filipinos) because I’m really into body movement. I’m part of the OPSA (Out of Province Student Association) at Western. I lived in New Brunswick for 4 years. It’s a very different experience for an out-of-province student because a lot of times the school has support for international exchange students but not as many programs for those out of province. They have similar challenges such as transportation, holiday, etc so we help plan events to help them transition into the Ontario environment and make it their home away from home. I’ve also been helping out with the Western Serves Network to be a liaison between community organizations and students. I help find opportunities for students to volunteer off-campus and get out of the Western Bubble.
Are there any organizations outside of Western you’ve been part of?
Outside of Western, I help with an organization called Canadian Roots Exchange (CRE) which is a non-profit organization that brings together indigenous and non-indigenous youths. We want to create dialogue to showcase current issues and youth involvement is important because they are going to be the change makers in the future. We are planning different workshops in different regions (from Winnipeg, Montreal, Toronto, etc). These workshops are based on indigenous arts, crafts and food to facilitate discussion and looking into history of colonization with goals to empower indigenous people to create change.
Where do you draw inspiration from?
I guess it’s due to my own personal experience and the people who have been my mentor. The work they’ve done and the different events that happened in my personal life made me realize how important it is to have the personal one-on-one interaction and how fragile life can be. From that understanding, I’m just trying to do what I feel is important and what is right. Volunteering has always been a big part of my identity and it helps mobilize people. CRE is really important to me because Canadians always talk about how Canada is a non-discriminatory nation, the best place in the world to live but it has its flaws that need to be addressed. I think it’s important to be part of the work that would make Canada a better community to live in and be proud of.
What kind of career do you see yourself in?
I want to be someone who could empower people, especially women. Maybe I will become a program facilitator for women groups or a gynecologist to help women’s health, something along those lines. It’s hard to say right now but I think it’s important to be flexible. There is a lot of ways to get to a goal but I don’t want to tie that down with a title.
What’s your favourite course?
Sociology 2180 (Development and Health Inequalities). The professor used a case study based approach to discuss different issues in vulnerable populations amongst the world (Egypt, Thailand, etc). It was a very eye-opening class and it helped me understand global health issues through innovative solutions that were used.
Do you have any advice for other Health Studies Students?
People will see through you if you’re not passionate about what you’re doing. You should do what you value.
If you have any questions or want to shoot her a message, she has kindly offered to provide her email email@example.com.